The US is in order by excluding Venezuela and Nicaragua from Summit of the Americas
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Dear Editor,
THE Summit of the Americas must go on! It is the democratic right of any country to reject the invitation from the US, as it is the right of the host not to invite countries with leaders that do not respect human rights, the rule of law and free and fair elections, and whose governance does not embrace the basic tenets of democracy… leaders that imprison opposition operatives and human rights advocates.

The US is in order by excluding Venezuela and Nicaragua, but it is a flawed decision on its part to exclude Cuba, which, over the years, has introduced tremendous reforms, and which continues to play a critical role in supporting the medical needs, on humanitarian grounds, of many developing nations around the globe. It must reconsider its position and invite Cuba.

Maduro and Ortega, rather than implementing reforms, are making human rights conditions worse in their respective countries. They continue to disrespect basic human rights and the tenets of democracy, and, in the case of Maduro, continue to pose a threat to the security and stability of the Americas with his jingoistic maneuvers from time to time regarding Venezuela’s baseless claim to Guyana’s maritime space and five-eights of its landmass.

Let those leaders who wish to boycott the Summit do so; every action has a reaction, but I am sure the current Biden Administration, unlike Trump’s, will hardly retaliate, since it is well aware that any punitive measures will hurt the people of the boycotting countries and not their leaders… except some of these leaders are asked to account for any hefty balances they might maintain in personal US bank accounts.

So, the responsible administration that is President Biden’s will, in my view, not seek to make it difficult for American tourists to visit Antigua and Barbuda, make it difficult for the boycotting countries to have access to vaccines in the height of a pandemic, cut the quota of visitor visas for these countries, discourage US businesses from doing business in these countries, or make it more difficult than it already is in terms of the supply chain for ships and cargo planes to ply routes that include those countries that will choose to boycott the Summit.

Just imagine what a new tax on airline tickets to Antigua would do to that country’s tourism market.

And, of course, the US will always be among the first responders to assist the people of CARICOM when natural disasters…hurricanes, earthquakes etc. hit.

The boycotting countries enjoy the right to boycott. The summit will go on. The US, I expect, will act responsibly, and not seek to retaliate in a way that will hurt the people, especially of CARICOM countries who have shared values with their brothers and sisters in the US.

I expect that Secretary of State Blinken will engage those countries that plan to boycott to urge their participation. But, in the final analysis, it is up to the leaders of those countries to make the decision to attend or not to.

Yours sincerely,
Wesley Kirton

 

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